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Sun on the River

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Evening walk at Ferry Meadows, Peterborough with the water reflecting the lowering sun.

I'm interested to know what people think of this - is there anything you could recommend to improve this, is it liked or is there anything desperately wrong with? All critique would be appreciated. I have done no post processing to this at all - this is exactly what was captured at the time of taking the photo.

Thanks in advance,


Camera:Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Date Taken:21 Apr 2012 - 5:17 PM
Focal Length:10.5mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/2.8
Shutter Speed:1/4000sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
Exposure Mode:Manual
Metering Mode:Multi-segment
Flash:Off, Did not fire
Title:Sun on the River
Username:nmt4 nmt4
Uploaded:16 Jun 2012 - 9:10 AM
Tags:Landscape / travel, Sunshine, Water
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Unique Views:22
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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
Focus_Man  5481 forum posts United Kingdom631 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jun 2012 - 11:05 AM

I notice that this is yoru first foray into the Critique gallery so welcome and I hope you learn a lot about your chosen hobby within it.

This picture, although backlit is still a little drab, the shadow detail is, IMHO a little bit to dark for the type of scene which you are depicting. I will do a mod for you to show you how I would like to see it. Compositioanlly, the sweep of the river is excellent sweeping through the picture to the left rear. It does appear to have a slight slant down to the left, but it is too difficult to be certain. However, when things which are level appear to be slanting there is nothing wrong with making it look right even just to avoid confusion with viewers. This does lack something to be the main thrust of the picture, something to concentrate the eye upon like a cano or a fisherman nicely located around thirds of the image.

The sun on the water may have been what you were after and that reflection is good.

Your EXIF is rather strange. Rather than use your lens at almost full aperture, it is best, particularly with landscapes where you want to have good focus over the full depth of your picture, to stop down two stops away from full. That here would be f8. But wanting better depth f11 would have been the optimim choice with a shutter speed of 1/500 instead of 1/4000sec. Given your backlit situation dialling in an exposure compensation of +1 would have helped your shadow detail, presently you have left that particular setting at zero. (Full aperture is sthe least efficient part of your lens, your setting of f3.6 was only 1/2 a stop away).

I hope this has proved to be hefpful.]


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nmt4  3 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2012 - 2:08 PM

Thanks Frank, appreciate the tie you have spent to put that together for me. Think I'll have a bit more of a play editing myself now as I think looking at your modification mine is certainly too dark though perhaps I would not have gone as light as yours - another personal opinion so I'm sure plenty will disagree with me Smile

One other thing I thought about was to crop off the road on the right but thought that might skew the attention of the viewer a little too much as it would almost go up to the reflection of the sunlight? What would you say - or anyone else?

Thanks again for taking the time on this, I'm sure I will learn a lot from people such as yourself who are willing to spend the time to help out near novices like myself.


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pamelajean Critique Team 9930 forum postspamelajean vcard United Kingdom1755 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jun 2012 - 6:32 PM

An attractive scene, Neil, with a nice curve to the river, and I like the way you fill the bottom of the frame with the water. You have an interesting cloud formation and the light on the water gives some foreground interest, which is otherwise lacking. It's that light which prompted you to take the picture, and you have made a nice feature of it.
The brightness of the sky and water has caused your camera to underexpose the land, but the balance can be brought back in editing. This is going to happen when you shoot into the light, and some people use multiple exposures, then combine them, others might use graduated filters.
It's a pity the animals weren't a little closer because you could have made them another interesting element. As it is, they are a bit small.
I think you are right about a crop to the right, eliminating the road, as it pulls the eye into the top right corner. I see what you mean about the edge going closer to the reflection, but think it works ok (see mod).
The reflection itself is obviously very bright, and you have lost some detail of the water within the expanse of white, but it's not too bad. Some negative exposure compensation could have helped, although your land area would have been even more underexposed. It depends on how much editing competence you have really.
Had you thought about using the EXR feature on your camera for this scene, Neil? It's meant to be used for difficult exposures like this.
In my modification, I cropped the right side only, and feel that otherwise your composition is fine, with about one third sky to two thirds land and water (see Rule of Thirds). I adjusted highlights and shadows to achieve some balance, and sharpened just a little in order to give the highlights in the water a bit of sparkle.

Last Modified By pamelajean at 16 Jun 2012 - 6:37 PM

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paulbroad  8108 forum posts United Kingdom954 Constructive Critique Points
17 Jun 2012 - 8:27 AM

The main problem is the contrast range which is outside the ability of the camera to record - would have been the same on film. Highlights burnt out and shadows very dark. The only answer is much less exposure to handle the highlights, then lighten the shadows later, but, better still, different lighting conditions.

The sweep of the river is nice, but you lack a focal point. Most images benifit from something on which to focus the eye and camera, suitably placed within the composion - a person, church tower and so on.


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